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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.


The Dowie Dens of Yarrow

By Henry S. Riddell (1798–1870)

O SISTERS, there are midnight dreams

That pass not with the morning,

Then ask not why my reason swims

In a brain so wildly burning.

And ask not why I fancy how

You wee bird sings wi’ sorrow,

That bluid lies mingled with the dew,

In the dowie dens o’ Yarrow.

My dream’s wild light was not of night,

Nor of the dulefu’ morning;

Thrice on the stream was seen the gleam

That seemed his sprite returning;

For sword-girt men came down the glen

An hour before the morrow,

And pierced the heart aye true to mine,

In the dowie dens o’ Yarrow.

O, there are red red drops o’ dew

Upon the wild-flower’s blossom,

But they could na cool my burning brow,

And shall not stain my bosom.

But from the clouds o’ yon dark sky

A cold cold shroud I ’ll borrow,

And long and deep shall be my sleep

In the dowie dens o’ Yarrow.

Let my form the bluid-dyed floweret press

By the heart o’ him that lo’ed me,

And I ’ll steal frae his lips a long long kiss

In the bower where aft he wooed me.

For my arms shall fold and my tresses shield

The form of my death-cold marrow,

When the breeze shall bring the raven’s wing

O’er the dowie dens o’ Yarrow.